In a physical, hard fought game against a well-coached Bucknell team, we won, 17-9. One of the principles of our program is the concept of SISU. We talk often about being at our strongest in the face of adversity, having grit, not complaining and not making excuses. On Saturday, our players put that on tape. We proved that we can win a close, physical game against a Patriot League opponent. Now we have to continue to establish that as our identity.
For the third straight game, our defense held the opponent scoreless in the second half. Bucknell moved the ball, accumulating 412 yards of total offense, but when our defense needed to come up with a big stop, they responded. Leading 17-9 in the fourth quarter, we defended four drives. Our defense forced two three-and-outs and stopped them on two critical fourth down attempts.
Senior captain Matt Satchell led the defense with 18 total tackles, 3.5 tackles for a loss and a half of a sack to earn his first Patriot League Defensive Player of the Week honor. Making his first career start, freshman safety Jethro Francois had an outstanding game, finishing with 15 total tackles, 1.5 tackles for a loss and a half of a sack. He earned the honors of Patriot League Rookie of the Week and the STATS FCS National Freshman of the Week. Junior linebacker Leo Loughrey had another outstanding game with 11 total tackles, one sack and two tackles for a loss. Senior cornerbacks Ettian Scott and Cameron Gamble did an outstanding job of defending Bucknell’s best receiver, Will Carter, the entire game.
Another senior captain, Jo’el Kimpela, had an outstanding day on the ground with 142 rushing yards on 18 carries against one of the best rushing defenses in the league. Our offensive line and receivers had a good day blocking for Jo’el at the point of attack. Justin Hill had another outstanding day, proving to be a deep threat by catching a 40-yard strike from Kyle Nolan in the first quarter for a touchdown. Hill finished the day with 7 catches for 114 yards and one score.
In the third quarter when Kyle was forced to leave the game due to an injury, junior quarterback Tim Barnes entered the game with us holding a one-point lead. Tim led a 14-play, 94-yard scoring drive. He converted three critical third downs during the drive, running for one first down and throwing passes to running back Troye Bullock and receiver Luke Morris on the others.
Placekicker Henry Darmstadter continued to be a weapon for us hitting both extra points and a 22-yard field goal, which was set up by freshman defensive back Blaise Brown’s interception. Punter Harry McCollum had a solid day, averaging 40-yards per punt and placing one inside the 20 yard line. Ben Priddy had his best day kicking off, finishing with one touchback on the day.
We talk about the concept of “next man up” and I’m proud of the way our guys have responded. I trust every member of our team to perform when called upon. Jethro Francois and Jake Sweitzer both made their first starts on Saturday. Tim Barnes led his first scoring drive of the year in the fourth quarter of a one-point game.
We won a close game against a good league opponent by playing a tough, physical brand of football. We had a number of players step into key roles and perform at a high level. But we were still far from perfect. We still have a number of things to improve upon in all three phases and that has been our focus this week leading into Lehigh.
This weekend, we will travel to Goodman Stadium to play Lehigh at 12:30 p.m. Lehigh is the only Patriot League program that we have never beaten since joining the league. They are another well-coached and talented Patriot League team. I hope to see you at the game this weekend!